Volume 16, No.02 - February 2012

Global dialogue on development

Advancing social development worldwide

The fiftieth session of the Commission for Social Development (CSD) will convene at UN Headquarters in New York on 1-10 February

CSD is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN. Since the convening of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, it has been the key UN body in charge of the follow-up and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.

During its fiftieth session, the Commission will focus on the priority theme of poverty eradication and, in this context, will also review relevant plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of youth, families, older persons, and persons with disabilities.

It will also feature a special event on Financing for Social Development, scheduled for Friday, 3 February at 3:00 pm. The event will highlight effective strategies for mobilizing resources for social development and feature panellists from various regions in the world.

Also under discussion during the current session is the emerging issue related to youth poverty and unemployment. An expert panel has been put in place for 6 February to facilitate an interactive dialogue on this topic.

The Commission for Social Development (CSD) will consider the following recommendations with respect to its primary theme in accordance with the report of the Secretary-General on poverty eradication prepared for CSD:

(a) The creation of full and productive employment and decent work for
all should be at the centre of policies. Countries are encouraged to implement the principles and objectives of the Global Jobs Pact […];

(b) Countries with large agricultural sectors should focus on raising
smallholder agricultural productivity and output quality in a sustainable
manner. Increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers requires enabling their access to fertilizers, high-yielding seeds, infrastructure, information and markets[…];

(c) Recognizing that universal access to basic social protection is
necessary to break the cycle of poverty and reduce inequality, Governments may wish to consider implementing national social protection floors consistent with national priorities and circumstances;

(d) In strengthening social protection systems, and reducing
intergenerational transmission of poverty, Governments should actively pursue family-focused social transfer programmes, paying particular attention to women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities and indigenous groups;

(e) Countries must address society-wide patterns of social and economic inequality and discrimination by ensuring that poor women and men have access to land, credit and other productive resources, housing, fair inheritance rights and justice, and that all segments of society participate in decision-making processes;

(f) The international community should support national efforts to
eradicate poverty by creating a favorable international environment and
ensuring greater coherence among macroeconomic, trade and social policies.

See the report of the Secretary-General on poverty eradication prepared for CSD

For further information and access to relevant documentation:

Highlighting role of cooperatives for communities and youth

The International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) Secretariat will host two interactive dialogues at UN Headquarters in New York on 1 and 2 February

The International Year of Cooperatives 2012 is underway, and UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSDP) has continued to play its role in the promotion and advocacy of cooperatives as agents for development.

During the month of February, the Division will be using its social media outlets and blog to discuss the contributions of cooperatives to social justice. In addition, the Secretariat is working with cooperative partners to host two interactive dialogues during the Commission for Social Development which opens on 1 February at UN Headquarters in New York.

On 1 February at 1:15 pm, Cynthia Giagnocavo, research Fellow at the University of Almería, Spain will present the case of Almería’s development, and show the pivotal role of cooperatives in developing the social, economic and political well-being of the community.

On 2 February at 1:15 pm, cooperative practitioners from the United States will discuss the advantages of cooperatives as an outlet for youth to secure sustainable livelihoods through entrepreneurship.

For more information:

Spotlight on economic and financial situation

ECOSOC will arrange an “Interactive dialogue on the current economic and financial situation” in New York on 7 February

The global economy faces acute uncertainties and volatility, which present serious concerns to all United Nations Member States. In order to better understand the structural or systemic challenges of the current global economic and financial order and to explore adequate policy responses, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will convene a special session to brief Member States on the current economic and financial situation. Distinguished economists are invited to provide their views and perspectives on the present situation and future prospects.

Chaired by ECOSOC President Miloš Koterec and moderated by the Director of UN DESA’s Divison for Development Policy and Analysis, Rob Vos, the event will feature keynote speakers including 2010 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Professor Peter Diamond. Discussions will focus on three main areas: 1) Unresolved structural fragilities in the global economy; 2) Alternative developmental models for sustained growth and job creation; and 3) Global policy coordination to mitigate uncertainties and reduce risk.

For more information:

Reflecting on a rapidly changing development context

ECOSOC will hold a Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) preparatory meeting on “The Changing Context of Development: What does it mean for Cooperation and Global Parntership” on 9 February

The global partnership for development agreed at major UN conferences, remains the centrepiece of international development cooperation. However, in a changing development landscape, the global partnership itself is evolving as new players with new approaches to development cooperation and new aid modalities are making an increasingly important contribution to development.

Against this backdrop, ECOSOC will hold this one-day DCF preparatory meeting in New York on “The Changing Context of Development: What does it mean for Cooperation and Global Parntership”. The meeting will examine key trends in development cooperation that have emerged in recent years and how they are shaping the future of development cooperation and the institutional arrangements that govern this cooperation.

Two panel discussions will focus on “New dynamics of development cooperation: challenges and opportunities” and “Gearing development cooperation towards sustainable development” respectively.

For more information:

Forests for people comes full circle

The International Year of Forests, 2011 closing ceremony is being held on 9 February at the United Nations headquarters in New York

Forests for people comes full circleThe event is being organized by the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, which was designated as the focal point for the International Year by the General Assembly.

Throughout 2011, over a thousand events have been organized worldwide by member states, international and regional organizations and forest-related stakeholders to amplify the year’s theme of “Forests for People”. The closing ceremony marks the culmination of these events and stories.

The event will feature an awards ceremony for the five regional winners of the 2011 Forest Heroes Award, recognizing their innovative approach and dedication in nurturing and sustaining our world’s forests. Regional winners were selected from the fifteen short-listed finalists announced at Forest Day 5 alongside the UNFCC COP17 in Durban.

Children and youth have an important role in raising awareness and in inspiring public action for forests, and their contributions will be showcased at the closing ceremony. First place winners of the Universal Postal Union’s international letter-writing competition, Charlée Gittens from Barbados and Wang Sa from China, will present their compositions in which they imagine themselves as trees writing to people and explaining the importance of forest protection and conservation. Winners of the 2011 International Children’s Art Contest to “Celebrate the Forests” will be announced as part of the event. Through the contest, children between 5 and 14 years of age were asked to depict their vision of the multifaceted value of forests and the people who depend on them.

Film clips from the first International Forest Film Festival, organized by Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and the UNFF Secretariat, will be interspersed throughout the ceremony offering glimpses of richly diverse forest stories.

The event will also serve as the book launch for Forests for People – a co-publication of the UNFF Secretariat and Tudor Rose – that features articles from over 75 authors from 35 countries.

For more information:

Rio+20: Accreditation and registration now open

Accreditation and registration to Rio+20 has started for relevant NGOs and other Major Groups, with a special one-time opportunity for newcomers not yet accredited

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 20-22 June with the goal of securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and addressing new and emerging challenges.

The Conference will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Online pre-registration is open to organizations that are currently in consultation with ECOSOC as NGOs, including those on the roster through the list of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Organizations that were accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 are also eligible to pre-register online immediately. Registration will close on 20 May 2012, and there will be no on-site registration in Rio de Janeiro.

Newcomers and organizations that are NOT yet accredited to the UN and wish to participate in Rio+20 will be offered a one-time opportunity for accreditation to Rio+20. The deadline for receiving new accreditation requests is 20 February. Once organizations have been approved for accreditation, they may begin to pre-register their delegates online until the general deadline of 20 May.

For more information:

Committee to review 190 new NGO applications

The 2012 regular session of the Committee on NGOs is taking place in New York from 30 January to 8 February, and on 17 February

The Committee is tasked with considering applications from NGOs worldwide for consultative status with the objective of enabling NGOs to: (i) contribute to the ECOSOC agenda; (ii) participate more effectively in the work of the ECOSOC including through attendance in meetings, consultations and contributions to the Secretary General’s reports; and (iii) disseminate the work of the Council, including at the country level.

To enhance the role of civil society as important partners in development, the work of the Committee is intended to strengthen their participation in the intergovernmental process and thereby facilitate the substantive contribution of civil society to the work of the UN and in the implementation of the UN development agenda.

This year, the Committee will review 190 new applications and 153 deferred applications from organizations seeking consultative status with ECOSOC. It will also review 375 quadrennial reports of organizations already in status.

For more information:

Promoting development of national statistics

The 43rd session of the Statistical Commission will be held from 28 February to 2 March at UN Headquarters in New York

Crime statistics, agricultural statistics, environment statistics and energy statistics are some of the issues that will be addressed at the 43rd session of the Statistical Commission.

As in past years, two special seminars will be organized. The first on official statistics will take place on 24 February with the theme: “Counting the 7 Billion: The Future of Population and Housing Census”. The High Level Forum will then take place on 27 February focusing on “Measuring the Unmeasurable: Challenging the Limits of Official Statistics”.

The United Nations Statistical Commission, established in 1947, is the apex entity of the global statistical system. It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world. It is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities especially the setting of statistical standards, the development of concepts and methods and their implementation at the national and international level.

The Statistical Commission oversees the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and is a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council.

For more information:

Discussing the Rio+20 zero draft

An informal meeting in preparation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development took place at UN Headquarters on 25-27 January, with initial discussions on the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document

Over the course of three days, Member States devoted three sessions to general discussions and comments, and three sessions to informal negotiations on Sections I and II of the zero draft, covering the Preamble/Stage setting and the objective of Renewing Political Commitment to sustainable development. Member States were invited to submit their written comments on those Sections by 23 January. 

Likewise, Member States will have until 17 February to submit comments on Sections III, IV and V of the zero draft in time for further negotiations in March. More than 200 delegates from Major Groups were registered to participate in the meeting, and many held stakeholder consultations on the margins of the informal negotiating sessions between Governments.

The High-level Panel on Global Sustainability further briefed delegates on 25 January and UN DESA hosted a series of workshops for Major Groups and other stakeholders on the margins of Member State consultations and negotiations on the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document. 

Developed for trainers, the workshops were designed to enhance awareness of the themes of sustainable development and build stakeholder capacity to engage with the intergovernmental process. Each workshop was built on previous training and provided participants with the most current information relevant to the Rio+20 process. Workshops will be hosted in New York in January, March and April; in Porto Alegre, Brazil on the margins of the World Social Forum; and in São Paulo, Brazil in early February. 

Check the official Rio+20 website for more details, including the zero draft:

Towards a new sustainable development architecture

DCF Advisory Group Special Event was arranged on 29 November 2011, in conjunction with the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Republic of South Korea

With the theme “Rethinking Development: Towards a New Sustainable Development Architecture”, the meeting was held in preparation for the 2012 DCF and as a contribution to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The event discussed the implications of the sustainable development agenda for international development cooperation. It also debated the challenges and opportunities for donor and programme countries arising from the concept of sustainable development.

Also, the potential impact of this concept on aid quantity, quality and allocation between countries, regions and sectors was discussed. Participants came from developing and developed countries, civil society, parliamentarians, and international organizations.

For more information:

Wide range of social issues addressed

Member States call for inclusive and equitable development, the eradication of poverty and respect for human rights during the working session of the Third Committee that took place from 3 October to 23 November 2011

When the Committee met to discuss social development during the 66th Session of the General Assembly, many issues were put on the table for consideration. The general discussion focused on the role of volunteerism, youth, persons with disabilities, older persons, families, social integration, cooperatives, and MDGs among others.

Seven resolutions were approved and one decision taken with the over arching message that economic and financial recovery and sustainable socio-economic development could not be achieved without the full and effective participation of all groups in society, the elimination of systemic inequality through respect for human rights and the promotion of inclusive social and economic policies.

The draft resolution on policies and programmes involving youth emphasized the importance of addressing youth employment issues and ensuring the full and effective participation of young people in society as a means not only for supporting youth development, but for effecting sustainable development as a whole.

Similarly, the resolutions on ageing, family, persons with disabilities and follow-up to the World Summit for Social development, emphasised the centrality of the equality of individuals and social inclusion to strong social and economic development at all levels.

Special emphasis was placed on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in social development efforts, and the General Assembly has called for a High level Meeting on the Realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for person with disabilities. This event will take place on 23 September 2013, before the start of the general debate of the 68th session.

For more information: